Success is Tied to Both Hard Work and Serendipity
I’m increasingly finding that success is tied to both hard work and serendipity, a simultaneously frustrating and yet oddly comforting realization. I never thought I would be a consultant. Embarrassingly enough, I wasn’t even aware of the profession before my senior year. My limited work experience includes interning at a political action committee while participating in Hamilton’s Washington, D.C. Program, and interning on the hill for a Massachusetts senator. However, the summer before senior year I had a fortuitous interaction with a Hamilton alumna who said she worked at a federal consulting firm. Midway through our informal conversation about Hamilton and our respective summers, she asked if I had post-graduation plans. When I begrudgingly admitted to not having given it much thought, she began to describe federal consulting… As they say, the rest was history.
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I do not mean to oversimplify the job search or the application process. I had approximately one month from the time I was introduced to federal consulting to the time I had to submit my application to Deloitte. As my friends can attest, my senior fall included googling “consulting,” updating my resume, submitting the online application through the Career Center, and preparing for case interviews. However, I hope my experience illustrates how opportunities can present themselves in serendipitous ways and, if embraced, can lead to surprising outcomes. While we can’t easily control when opportunities arise, we can determine how we respond to them. In addition to working hard and leveraging one’s networks, my advice to students is to keep an open mind and be prepared to seize opportunities as they come. It is important to not only focus on doing well in school and building an impressive resume, but also looking out for opportunities, because they will present themselves, even if it is in ways one might not expect. I never considered being a federal consultant before making a lucky acquaintance on a random summer day; however, once I saw an open door, I ran for it full speed ahead.
Lia Parker-Belfer graduated from Hamilton in 2016 with a degree in economics. She currently works as a business analyst with Deloitte’s Federal Practice. There, Lia advises various government agencies to help them to improve their business processes and achieve their respective missions.